A former District 150 school teacher was sentenced to seven years in federal prison this afternoon after being convicted of using the internet to attempt a sexual encounter with a teenage boy.
Jodi Church apologized to her family, the community, the court, the victim and District 150 before sentence was passed by Judge Joe Billy McDade.
In addition to her prison term, Church was sentenced to lifetime court supervision upon her release.
Prosecutor Tom Keith said he believed Church's tearful apology helped her cause. Keith says Church also helped herself by giving information to prosecutors about convicted child pornographer Anthony Fletcher who was also held in the Tazewell County Jail.
Church still faces state charges involving another teenage boy with whom she's accused of having a sexual relationship with.
She starts serving her prison term immediately.
Here is the full release from Federal Court:
A former Peoria, Illinois teacher who admitted she used the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity was sentenced today. Jodi Elizabeth Church, 27, of the 5900 block of N. Tampico, Peoria, Illinois, was ordered to serve 84 months in federal prison and remain on supervised release for life following her release from prison, as announced by Rodger A. Heaton, U. S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois.
Church was arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint nearly one year ago, on March 8, 2007. On August 17, 2007, Church pled guilty to the offense. During an Internet chat with a minor on MySpace on December 9, 2006, Church attempted to solicit the minor for sexual activity. At the time, Church had been employed as a behavioral teacher at Peoria’s Manual High School for approximately four years. The investigation was conducted by law enforcement agencies participating in the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s CyberCrime Unit (CICU) based in Peoria with the cooperation of Peoria
Public School District 150 and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The CICU is a multi-agency group dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of computer crime. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Keith.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, created in February 2006 as a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to
better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.